Film Review: Shilique Calhoun Has Tools to Play Large Role For Patriots Next Season
With the losses of Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy, the New England Patriots will be looking for someone to replace their production. One player that could step up in 2020 is outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun. Calhoun spent the 2019 season with the Patriots, but he didn't play much except for the first game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Calhoun played 82% of the defensive snaps in that game against the Steelers (stats provided by Pro Football Reference.) Kyle Van Noy missed that game to attend the birth of his child and that allowed Calhoun to get extra playing time. Calhoun didn't make a huge impact on the game, but he made some nice plays that day and during the season, which gives us a peek into what he could do as a full-time starter.
For the first play I wanted to show off, Calhoun, #90, is lined up standing up next to the right tackle. The tight end picks him up but Calhoun is able to keep moving to seal the edge. Once the running back tries to make a cut up field, Calhoun sheds the block and stands the back up. Being able to be stout against the run is a major factor in the amount of playing time defensive players get in New England.
Calhoun is lined up over the right tackle here and he's standing up again. Calhoun does a great job on this play using his long arms and jabbing the tackle. He's able to keep the tackle at bay and help close a gap. Once he sees the running back going outside, he goes with him but the back cuts inside when Calhoun makes his move. Patrick Chung is able to finish this play, but Calhoun does a great job setting this up.
Here's a pass-rushing rep from Calhoun and he's lined up against the right tackle again. The first thing Calhoun does here is her get his hands inside the tackle's chest. If a pass rusher can get their hands inside an offensive lineman's chest, they get all of the leverage. Once he gets his hands inside, he extends one arm to jab the tackle and starts to walk him back. This gets the tackle off-balance and Calhoun is able to take full advantage of that. Calhoun pulls the tackle towards him and gets right past him. Unfortunately, Ben Roethlisberger evades the pressure and scrambles for a gain. But this play shows off Calhoun's ability to rush the passer.
On this play, Calhoun shows us another way he can win against tackles when he's rushing the passer. Calhoun gets into the tackle's chest again here, but this time he transitions into a rip move. With the rip, he's able to get right past the tackle, and if Roethlisberger held the ball longer, he would have been sacked. Calhoun isn't a top tier pass rusher, but he does have a few moves that he does well.
On this play, Calhoun uses his jab again and is able to back this tackle up. Unfortunately, I believe he loses his balance here but he does a good job staying up long enough to pressure Roethlisberger into almost throwing an interception. Sacks aren't everything when it comes to rushing the passer. Just being able to get pressures against quarterbacks can be huge as they disrupt offenses and can lead to turnovers.
Calhoun is able to show off another pass rush move on this play. Here, he uses a swim move to get right past the tackle and he shows off some nice quickness. He sells that he's going outside to force the tackle to respond, and once the tackle has committed outside, Calhoun attacks inside and gets his arm over the tackle. He's able to pressure and hit Josh Rosen on this play and force an incompletion.
Back to the run game; Calhoun takes on the tight end 1-on-1 here. He doesn't give up any ground here and fills up a gap that the running back could hit. He's able to push the tight end back and he uses his long arms to help bring down the running back. Calhoun is a solid run defender because of his length and how he uses it.
On this play, Calhoun is lined up against the left tackle and he does a great job forcing the tackle to hold him. Calhoun starts off his rush faking inside and forcing the tackle to make a move. The tackle tries to land a punch but Calhoun swipes his hands away and gets his inside arm over. He got right past the tackle by swiping perfectly and defeating the tackle's hands. The tackle has no choice but to hold, otherwise Calhoun would have sacked Josh Allen.
Calhoun does a great job again defeating hands and getting right past the right tackle on this play. Calhoun does the same thing he did in the last clip, he waits for the tackle to try and land his punch and he swipes the tackle's hands away. This gives Calhoun a free lane to Josh Allen and that forces Allen to scramble out of the pocket.
Here, Calhoun is lined up with his hand in the dirt in-between the left tackle and left guard. Calhoun does a great job here running off the left tackle's block and getting after the running back. Calhoun uses his long arms again to reach out and grab the running back and bring him down.
Calhoun has a great chance at winning the outside linebacker spot vacated by Kyle Van Noy. Calhoun was Van Noy's primary back up last year and got a lot of snaps against the Steelers when Van Noy was out. Calhoun also is experienced in the Patriots' system after spending all of last year with the team. He is a solid player and has a lot of good tools. The 2020 season could be huge for Calhoun to prove that he can be a consistent starter in the NFL.